WINDY CITY TIMES
||Theater Review: A Taste of Soul brings music and food center stage
By Brian Kirst
This article shared 1535 times since Fri Sep 8, 2023
We all know the sluggish quagmire of weekday work mornings. Often the only thing that gets us moving and able to face the day is our favorite songs. While all of the Black Ensemble Theater productions highlight this profound necessity for music in our daily lives, A Taste of Soul, their current joyous offering, really brings that fact into clear focus.
Treating the audience as if they are at a live taping of a cooking show, writer-director Daryl D. Brooks not only has the program's mock chefs highlight the history of such established artists as Al Green, Simply Red, as an example of Blue Eyed Soul, and Peaches & Herb, but he also allows them to reminisce about the music of their childhoods. These heartfelt stories relate the profound effect those tune-filled afternoons had upon their personalities and familial relationships.
Pairing the majority of the artists with various dishes being "prepared" for the broadcast also highlights the diverse elementsgospel, blues and rock n rollthat go into a great soul hit. Performance stand-outs, meanwhile, include McKenzy Jenkins' fun loving take on Al Green, LaRon Jones' spot-on Barry White and Britt Edwards' positively electric Tina Turner. The Turner section, which includes exuberant performances of River Deep and The Best, is also quite an emotional experience considering Turner's recent passing at the age of 83 in May. Edwards' kinetic energy actually seems to bring her back to life for a brief moment in time.
The production is further enhanced by quick homages to artists as diverse as Lou Rawls, Little Richard and Cheryl Lynn, a Gong Show contestant who went on to have several club hits in the '70s and '80s. Nicely, the inclusion of the flamboyant Richard along with such community favorites as Turner and Lynn give a glancing nod to the LGBTQexperience, allowing ticket holders to experience not only the tales of the Broadway caliber performers on stage, but to take a tuneful, sentimental journey of their very own, as well.
This article shared 1535 times since Fri Sep 8, 2023
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